An experienced author' of simple vocational books writes a fast-paced mystery as her first novel. Margaret Drusilla and her mother, a commercial pilot, are on a visit to a small town in Texas to help Great-aunt Dru, incapacitated by a badly sprained ankle. MDK, as her new friend Wil (the sheriff's son) names her, has another goal: finding the Blue Empress--an antique necklace, her legacy from Great-aunt Dru, now lost or stolen. MDK's efforts involve her with several citizens of Riverbank and teach her that first impressions can be unreliable. The mystery is entangled with the machinations of a local smuggling ring; the final scenes include a harrowing attempt by the smugglers to stop Wil and MDK from reporting them to the police. MDK foils them with knowledge from her mother's profession. Pelta's characterization is rudimentary and strictly serviceable. MDK is plucky, but efforts towards giving her background (like having her say ""Cowabunga"" to indicate that she's a surfer) detract more than they add. Though the final chapters are tautly written, and the author shows some promise, this is not outstanding.